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Families and Work Group Manifesto for 2015

Published: 23 Sep 2014

Working Families report

Families and Work Group Manifesto for 2015

The three main Westminster political parties all love to talk about “hardworking families” and what they will do for them. But for far too long and for far too many families, work isn’t working. They may be THE demographic politicians most love to court but shockingly large numbers of families are really struggling to cope. Time-poor, cash-poor – often both – many feel they aren’t doing justice to either home or work life. Something has to change. And not just from the employees’ point of view.

For employers lack of flexibility at work has huge costs in low productivity, lost skills and experience, and a shrinking talent pool.

This is why the government elected in 2015 must act decisively to ensure work genuinely works for all. That’s working parents, grandparents, carers and working people with no caring responsibilities who also need more balanced lives. Working people of every kind need equality in the home, as well as at work. They need access to justice when things go wrong and they need proper support with childcare.

The Families and Work Group manifesto for 2015, launched on Tuesday 23rd September, sets out with eight specific policy proposals grouped under four headings: time; equality; money; and childcare.

Each proposal is emblematic of what we believe the broader thrust of policy should be. Each offers an opportunity for the political parties to demonstrate a real practical commitment to our vision of work for all.

In order to achieve our aims, which bring fairness and equity for all in the workplace, we believe the next government must:-

Establish a new right to a period of adjustment leave, to enable families to weather relatively short-term life crises such as the death, serious illness, or onset of disability of a partner, parent or child, or other major change in their caring responsibilities, without having to give up work.

Adopt a flexible by default approach to job design and recruitment in the public sector, so that all jobs in central and local government are advertised on a flexible basis unless there is a specific, good business reason not to. Ministers should act and recruit business leaders as ‘flexible working’ champions, and should encourage private sector employers to adopt Working Families’ Happy to Talk Flexible Working strapline.

Appoint a cabinet-level, cross-departmental minister for childcare. In recognition of the fact that good childcare boosts economic activity as well as child development, this minister should be based in both the Department for Education and the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills.

The Families and Work Group Manifesto is broad, widespread and wide reaching.  It is supported by:

4Children,Bliss, Parents Across Scotland, Citizens Advice, Family & Childcare Trust, Family Lives, Fatherhood Institute, Fawcett Society, Lullaby Trust, Gingerbread, Grandparents Plus, Maternity Action, Mothers’ Union, Netmums, NCT, Prospect, Royal College of Midwives, Scope, SPAN, TUC, UCU, UNISON, Women’s Budget Group

We believe this to be THE most crucial issue facing the government that’s elected next year. And we plan to ensure that quality family life isn’t just something politicians pay lip service to in order to win votes. This time, we want action as well as words.

For the full manifesto contact julie.mccarthy@workingfamilies.org.uk

About The Families and Work Group

This manifesto has been drawn up through the work of the Families and Work Group, a coalition of charities and unions working together to jointly develop sector thinking and co-ordinate policy responses around families and employment.

 Read more about the Families and Work Group Manifesto